Rare photos span 50 years of Rolling Stones

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The group dubbed the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” could also lay claim to most-photographed and photogenic, according to the book’s editor Chris Murray.

In Murray’s new book, “50 x 20,” he celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones through the eyes of 20 world-class photographers.

“The Stones had incredible style, and were remarkable photographic subjects – and remain so today,” marvels Murray.

Murray is founder of Govinda Gallery, which operated in Georgetown for 35 years. Murray now focuses his time curating museum shows and working on book projects.

The earliest images in the book date from 1963 when the band still wore matching suits.

“You see them arriving at their first recording session and they have to pool together to pay the cab,” says Murray.

The Stones’ manager at the time, Andrew Loog Oldham, cultivated a bad boy image that ran counter to The Beatles, Dave Clark 5, The Searchers and other bands.

“The Stones had just limited, basic equipment in those days, and yet they created such a frenzy,” Murray says.

Some of the images in the book have never been seen before. Others are outtakes from sessions that produced some of rock’s most iconic album covers.

Murray describes how Gered Mankowitz shot the 1966 series of photographs on Primrose Hill in North London.

“On that cover of “Between the Buttons,” he put some Vaseline on the edge of his lens, and it gave the photo this very sort of misty, mysterious feeling.”

One of the most memorable Rolling Stones images comes from the 1968 session for Beggars Banquet, by photographer Michael Joseph.

“They’re all in this Gothic-looking room, at a bacchanal, if you will, a huge feast,” says Murray of the photograph that was hand-colored to make it look more provocative and bizarre.

The Rolling Stones’ looks changed throughout the years, but were always photogenic.

“In the 70s we have the ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll’ period when they started wearing makeup, and mascara and wearing sailors’ uniforms,” Murray said.

“It’s a pretty incredible thing to see the Stones in 1963. Next thing you know you’re in 1993, then 2003. To see the evolution of how they looked, how they dressed,” Murray says.

“If you put on the Stones music and look at these pictures, it really takes you on a journey through their 50 years.”

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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